Paleo Banana Cake (Gluten-Free) #FantasticalFoodFight #FoodNFlix

Today’s recipe is doing double duty and pulls form three different inspirations.

First, it’s this month’s Fantastical Food Fight with the theme of bananas!  If one lives on the Kentucky/Tennessee border there is even an annual banana festival this weekend!  So, I knew I had to make something with bananas – definitely a dessert, I thought.

Second, I volunteered to bake treats for Dude’s class.  One of Dude’s classmates is gluten sensitive, so I always try to be considerate of that.  I thought that these treats would be the perfect way to use bananas in a recipe.

Third, this September is the 9th anniversary of Food n Flix and to celebrate, we could watch any of the previously chosen movies to use as inspiration.  I went on the hunt for something I hadn’t seen, that seemed interesting, and that I could find on Netflix or Amazon Prime.  And that’s how I stumbled upon Toast.

It is a movie based on Nigel Slater’s memoir of the same name (which I am now mildly curious to read, because I think the movie likely left out a considerable amount of detail).  The movie is rather sad, but there is no shortage of recipe inspiration.

No bananas though!

Ultimately, I was inspired by one of the opening scenes when Nigel convinces his mother (who does not cook) to bake a cake.  The resulting cake is a disaster, but it’s time spent together.

So I decided to make a gluten-free banana cake, which ended up being its very own recipe disaster when, much to my surprise, my lovely banana bars turned a shocking blue hue when cut (and got bluer as they sat out!)

I knew there must be a fun chemical reaction at play, so after serving them to Dude’s class with promises to find an answer, I hit the internet to find out!

It just so happens that unlike most plants, which house their chlorophyll in their stems and leaves, sunflowers also store chlorophyll in their seeds.  This chlorophyll, when baked in recipes containing baking soda, turns blue/green when the chlorophyll reacts with the natural aluminum found in the baking soda (Sunbutter, 2017).

In the case of this specific pan of bars, exposure to oxygen also seemed to play a vital role, as the bars turned bluer the longer they were cut.

 Apparently reducing the amount of baking soda in a recipe by a third can minimize this effect.  Since I have not had a chance to try this myself, however, the recipe below has the full amount of baking soda, as I made it, especially since the color does not affect the taste.

Can I say that the librarian in me wants to tell you that I made sure I found a reliable source of information and grad student in me really wants to cite that source using proper APA format?

Sunbutter. (2017). Frequently asked questions. Retrieved from

Ah, much better.

So how were they, you ask?

Absolutely delicious and surprisingly rich given that they were only sweetened with bananas and chocolate chips!

It should be noted that since there is not flour of any kind, this are very moist, dense cake – that’s not a negative thing – just a fact!

Fun fact: the Banana Cake in the first photo is the same slice as the one below.  The first photo was taken in the morning when I snapped a quick shot and went to work.  I placed some cling wrap over the bar and it was shockingly blue when I got home at 3:30!  The ones I had pre-sliced for the kiddos were also blue!

Gluten Free Paleo Banana Cake
Adapted from Detoxinista

6 large over-ripe bananas
1 (16 oz) jar sunbutter
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups dark chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a 9x13 in pan with parchment and spray with nonstick spray.

Place the bananas in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.  Add the sunbutter and eggs and blend until incorporated.

Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, and pulse until combined.  Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Turn the oven off.  Sprinkle the remaining cup of chocolate chips evenly over the cake, then place back in the hot (but turned off) oven for 2-3 minutes or until the chocolate chips are melted.

Use an angled spatula to spread the chocolate chips over the cake like frosting.  Cool completely, then cut and serve.


  1. That blue effect is crazy! That happened to me once with fresh peach muffins. P.S. I'm an APA geek too.

  2. That is so funny. I have never seen Toast, I will have to look for it.

  3. I never saw anything turn blue. Wow! As long as it tastes great, consider it a natural dye!

  4. That is amazing! I mean I would've starred at that color and hesitated to eat it, but looking at how beautifully science behaves... lovely recipe...

  5. How interesting and cool! and I bet the cake tastes delicious!

  6. Very interesting information regarding the colour and ingredients Amy! Any way the taste and texture matters and that slice looks so tempting.


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